With the dramatic hikes to monthly transit passes, it may be cheaper simply to buy tickets.
By Thom Oommen
Published January 18, 2008
Having just purchased my monthly bus pass for $79 in the dark of winter, I could be excused for feeling down. After all, last year at this time my pass cost me $65.
This means that in the span of one year, adult transit pass holders have seen a jump of 21 percent through two fare hikes. Student pass holders (which in most cases means hard working parents) got a bigger hit of 26 percent. Compare these jumps with those for cash fares (14 percent) and tickets (9 percent) and the message is loud and clear: don't buy monthly passes.
Think about it. If you use the bus to commute to and from work Monday to Friday and there are roughly 21 weekdays a month, you're looking at a cost of $77.70 to go by ticket or $79 to go by pass.
Even though the difference is small, which are you going to choose? What if you work at home one day a week? What if you have to drive occasionally, get a ride home sometimes, or wish to use your bike on pleasant days? All the more reason to pick up tickets and dump the pass.
Doesn't it make more sense to have a monthly pass that costs around $70 (or ideally less), which would become the logical first choice for daily commuters deciding between tickets and passes?
With a pass in their pockets, these regulars would have the option to choose the HSR instead of their cars on weekends and evenings instead of spending a ticket or cash fare. It's there, so why not use it?
Wouldn't that lead to fewer vehicles on the road? Wouldn't that lead to less air pollution, greenhouse gas and fuel consumption?
Wouldn't that help the City of Hamilton reach its goal of doubling annual transit rides per capita from the current rate of 47, as stated in the Transportation Master Plan?
Though I hold out hope for Sam Merulla's dream of free transit, with any future fare hikes the cash fares and tickets should go up but monthly passes should come down. A healthy system needs regular, committed riders.
I hope the HSR and Public Works are listening, because this is an example of a small change that will make a big difference to boosting ridership on the HSR.
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